Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Concerning individuals subject to financial disclosure

Concerning individuals subject to financial disclosure
Suffolk County Ethics Commission v Neppell, 307 AD2d 961

When the Suffolk County Ethics Commission [SCEC] asked Thomas M. Neppell, Jr., the chair of the Brookhaven Town Republican Committee, to file a financial disclosure form with the SCEC pursuant to Section A30-10 of the Suffolk County Charter, Neppell refused to do so, contending that he was neither a county officer nor a county employee.

SCEC sued Neppell, contending that because he was an officer of a political party officer, the County Charter required him to file a financial disclosure with it.

Noting that Suffolk County's Code Section A30-10A(1), Financial Disclosure provides in part that:

Every candidate for countywide elected office or for member of the County Legislature and every political party officer shall file with the Suffolk County Ethics Commission an annual statement of financial disclosure containing the information and in the form set forth in Chapter 61 of the Suffolk County Code.

Justice Doyle said that although Neppell argues he is not an employee of the County of Suffolk and thus he is not required to file a financial disclosure form, his argument must fail.

Why? Because, the court explained, General Municipal Law Section [GML] 811(1)(b) clearly authorizes municipalities to require financial disclosure from "local political party officials" as if such officials were officers or employees of such county, city, town or village...."

As the County's Code Sections A30-8(c) A30-10A(1) "appropriately dovetail with and mirror" the relevant section of the GML and as Suffolk County "has appropriately chosen to exercise the power to require the completion and filing of the annual statement of financial disclosure" by a local political party official as if he were an officer or employee of the County of Suffolk, Neppell was required to file because:

The Suffolk County Ethics Commission has captured the spirit and intent and the worthy objective of General Municipal Law Section 800 et seq. that is honesty in government, in formulating its local laws with regard to financial disclosure, in a format harmonious and consistent with state law.

Justice Doyle concluded that Neppell, as Chairman of the Brookhaven Town Republican Committee, "is a political party officer (as defined in Section A30-8 of the Suffolk County Charter) and is required to file a financial disclosure form with the Commission ...."

[Click on http://longisland.newsday.com/data/pdfs/levy/Memo%20on%20Financial%20Disclosure%20requirements%20from%20Ed%20Dumas.pdf for a recent statement concerning financial disclosure by the Nassau County Chief Deputy County Executive.]

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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